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If you are an investor who knowingly bought a sinkhole property, the process if very simple. Since, you are likely working with cash or have access to it, the steps are:
If you happen to be one of the many that simply bought a dream-home only to find-out there is sinkhole-activity, in your area, life is different. At that point, you see the signs everywhere: stair step-cracks, cracks in the driveway, cracks in corners, cracks in window joints, you simply start seeing cracks everywhere. But now what? What is the next step?
When answering this question, the most obvious answer is, the insurance completely denying your claim. Unfortunately that has happened a great many times. As a result we know the answer to this question through the experience of many who came before.
While the process varies slightly depending upon the circumstances of each case, the typical case can be broken down into phases. These phases also help tell everyone where you are in the repair process. Those phases are discussed below.
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Claim Phase - You need to first make a claim with your insurance company. They will send out their own adjuster to review the case and determine a settlement amount or a reason to deny the claim. This adjuster works for the insurance company, not you.
Lawyer-Up Phase - The easiest way to approach the next phase, is to hire a lawyer. Many times, lawyers know who can best help solve particular cases based on expertise. As a result, this can make the process easier on you by letting an experienced person deal with the details.
Investigation Phase - Some people go to this phase for their second phase as a natural instinct because they want to do their own investigation prior to hiring a lawyer. Regardless, in this phase both engineers and adjusters play an important role in determining the validity of a sinkhole claim.
Litigation Phase - Your lawyer will have complete control of this phase. If you picked an experienced lawyer, they will know how to best litigate the case for obtaining the desired settlement.
Settlement Phase - In this phase, it is win, lose, or draw. Once the case has been litigated, it all comes down to, was a settlement provided or was the case ruled against your favor. If a settlement was provided you can move into the final phase.
Repair Phase - This is what the whole process was all about. Getting to finally put the issues revolving around the stability of the building structure, resolved.